Sleep training What is it?
Sleep training is the process of helping a baby learn to fall asleep by himself and stay asleep through the night.
Sleep is so important to babies
for maturation of their brains and consolidation of their memories . Several studies have shown that babies with more efficient night-time sleep (greater percentage of time spent asleep during the night) had higher cognitive scores. Babies that sleep more at night have been found to have a lower basal cortisol, an “easier” temperament, being more approachable, less distractible, and more adaptable. In a study of well-rested vs. fatigued babies (i.e. missed nap), the fatigued babies were more easily frustrated and more distressed by a brief separation from their mothers. In multiple studies of interventions that improved infants’ sleep, parents noted that their babies were more secure, predictable, less irritable, and less fussy.
Of course, there are variations in the amount of sleep that a given child needs. Some children have high sleep needs and others don’t, and parents are the best judge of whether or not their children are getting enough sleep. But they all need to sleep well.
What are negative Sleep associations?
Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child!
It’s natural for a baby to use the breast, a bottle, or a dummy to fall asleep. Unfortunately, when a baby relies on these associations , he will learn to connect sucking with falling asleep, therefore, over time, he will not be able to settle in any other way; he will expect those same conditions not only to fall asleep but also to re-settle himself whenever he reaches the light sleep cycle which will results in frequent night waking as well as broken naps.
To establish healthy sleep habits, it’s important to guide your baby to become a self-soother since these habits will eventually be counterproductive to the goal of getting your baby to sleep through the night when the time is right to do so. Negative sleep associations are referred to anything used and essential for your baby to fall asleep and stay asleep. Several controlled studies found that when parents are taught some basic principles about encouraging self-settling in babies (putting them down awake, waiting a few moments before responding to their cries), their babies sleep longer and wake less.
That doesn’t mean that these strategies work for every baby, but it does show that parenting matters in helping babies form healthy sleep habits. Training your baby to self-sooth will also have positive knock-on effects on his general wellbeing during waking hours, as well as yours, of course.
and What are your sleep training options?
By 3 months, sleep habits are fairly set and healthy babies should start to develop a regular sleep-wake cycle and dropped their night feeding having developed a predictable 24-hour pattern. At this stage if your baby still wakes up several times during the night, it’s possible that he might have learnt negative sleeping associations and he simply wakes up demanding the comfort he’s accustomed to, to fall back to sleep, whether it’s feeding, rocking, swinging, bouncing, dummy, etc..
What are your sleep training options?
There are many different ways to teach your child healthy sleep habits. While researchers continue to debate the merits of some sleep training options and condemn others, consistency appears to be a more important thing to achieve positive results.
However, should you decide to go solo without the help of an expert, it’s essential you choose a method you can live with and continue to follow until you achieve the expected results; or your child will become very confused, should you suddenly decide not to follow through.